“I think a lot of people underestimate her, but I wasn’t,” Avila said of Chan. “She’s got really good kicks and is a 10th Planet (Jiu-Jitsu) purple belt, so my game plan was to use my wrestling and take her down and control her, and not get stuck with any of the tricky submissions.
“I feel I worked my game plan, did it effectively, and tried to finish her repeatedly. We went to a judges’ decision and I won the unanimous decision.”
The win puts the 40-year-old Avila at 5-3 for her pro career, and feels especially good coming off a solid performance against Danielle Taylor in February, where she lost a close five-round split decision.
“I had thought at the end of that fight (against Taylor) that I had done enough in that fight to win,” said Avila.
“I get underestimated a lot because of my age. People don’t think I have the gas tank to put on these wars or not be able to keep up with some of the younger fighters. I think those setbacks are in your own mind, so if you feel you have the ability to do those things, you can absolutely do it, so going five rounds was a testament to that.”
Avila continues to rise to the occasion, as evidenced by the documentary based on her life, titled Glena, chronicling the difficulties in her life during her transition from the amateur to pro ranks in 2011.
“The documentary was huge because it gave a lot of people who are not necessarily fans of the sport a bird’s eye view of what it is really like,” said Avila.
“People who come and watch fights see you put it all on the line, but with the documentary, people are also seeing that we are family members, we have a lot going on in our lives, and they can understand better the sacrifices that come along with becoming a professional athlete.”
Avila hopes with her strong performance against Chan, she’s earned another shot at Taylor and the KOTC strawweight championship. She would like that to be her next bout if possible.
“I really wanted to make a statement when I fought Cheryl, and I really want to fight Danielle again,” said Avila. “It was a close fight, so I’d like the opportunity to do it again. I think I can do better and I just want to prove it.”
(Photo courtesy of Glena Avila)